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PM urges public to maintain vigilance amid drop in virus infections

09:40 January 19, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Tuesday called for the public to adhere to strict social distancing rules despite a downward trend in the number of new daily coronavirus cases nationwide.

"We seem to have recovered a small level of normalcy of our daily lives, but COVID-19 still continues to threaten us from unseeable places," Chung said during an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 response held at the government complex in Seoul. The current third wave of COVID-19 here reached its peak on Dec. 25, with the daily tally reaching 1,240, but has been showing signs of a slowdown since.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun enters a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held at the government complex in Seoul on Jan. 19, 2021. (Yonhap)

The daily figure stayed in the 500s over the past week before it dropped to a nearly two-month low of 389 on Monday. The nation reported 386 new cases on Tuesday.

Amid signs of a letup in new virus cases, health authorities decided to ease tough restrictions on previously shuttered or scaled back businesses that have suffered revenue losses.

Chung highlighted that while the number of cluster outbreaks has dropped during the past week, the number of transmissions from personal contacts with infected patients, within families, personal gatherings and workplaces, has surged 45 percent.

"The infection figure could soar again any time when such transmissions within our daily lives increase. If the situation gets worse before the Lunar New Year holiday, we may end up finding ourselves again on the defense," Chung said.

The prime minister reiterated the importance of adhering to "air tight" antivirus measures and avoiding contact and seeking immediate medical help when suspicious symptoms are discovered.

A man walks on a treadmill at a gym in Seoul on Jan. 18, 2021, as health authorities eased restrictions on cafes, gyms and other indoor facilities the same day amid signs of a letup in new coronavirus cases. (Yonhap)


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